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Autumn got you missing the sunshine? Book a city break to soak up some rays! Delicious, surprising and vibrant – both Madrid and Madeira temp visitors with an abundance of nature, stunning views and year-round sporting opportunities. Which will you choose?

This autumn, why not whet your appetite on a culinary city break to Madrid? Alternatively, take a more active approach to relaxation on a sports-themed trip to Madeira. Beautiful weather awaits you in both locations, so take your pick!

Mayor Plaza in Madrid © iStock
Mayor Plaza in Madrid © iStock

For the love of food – Madrid city break

The capital of Spain is a foodie paradise! Famous for its numerous bars, restaurants and 24-hour cafés, Madrileñosenjoy local delicacies from morning to late night. Despite its location over 400 kilometres from the Mediterranean coast and 500 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean, Madrid is famous for its fish and seafood restaurants, with famous examples such as El Pescador na Cal and La Trainera. It is also known as a city of immigrants, meaning you’ll find restaurants serving delicacies from all over the Iberian Peninsula – from Galicia and Asturias in the north to Andalusia and Murcia in the south. There’s plenty to do, see and taste on a city break in this culinary melting pot, so let’s explore!

A man eating breakfast in Madrid© iStock
A man eating breakfast in Madrid © iStock

A tasty start to the day

Start your day in Madrid with a robust, aromatic coffee. Desayuno, or breakfast, usually consists of coffee with milk and sugar added to suit your taste – two firm favourites are café con leche and un cortado. We especially recommend fresh churros dipped in decadent hot chocolate and there’s no better place to sample them than the San Ginés Chocolate Bar, which has been offering these specialties since 1894, or the equally old and well-loved La Mallorquina. Interestingly, many of the city’s churrerias are open in the morning so that partygoers returning home after a big night out can enjoy this sweet delicacy.

Book attraction tickets before you go!

If your tastes run to the more savoury end of the scale then order a pan con tomate. This typical Madrid bread roll comes with olive oil and fresh tomato paste – Más Corazón and Bar Benteveo near Anton Martin metro station have the best examples we’ve found. After a slow sightseeing stroll, head to the Plaza Mayor and the famous Mercado San Miguel market for lunch. Soak up the delicious flavours, scents and sights of this most foodie of capitals.

Madrid stew © iStock
Madrid stew © iStock

Simple but delicious – Madrid at lunch

Once you’ve seen the Palazio Real royal palace, the city’s main square, Plaza Mayor, the art collection in the Prado gallery, and the Art Deco Gran Via street, it’s time for la comida! Taste classics from all over Spain. You’ll feast on potato dishes, such as tortilla de patatas, a thick omelette cooked with potatoes and onions or patatas bravas, which are baked potatoes with sauce. Accompanying these are offal dishes such as oreja, hot pig ears, or braised bull testicles. At noon, traditional eateries serve up cocido madrileño – a Madrid-style tripe with vegetables, various types of meat, chorizo, and blood sausage. FInd the best examples in traditional taverns like Posadas in Cavas Baja y Alta. Or, follow the example of the Spanish Queen Sophia, and head to Botin in Plaza Mayor for a wood-grilled piglet.

A woman and a child eating churros © iStock
A woman and a child eating churros © iStock

Michelin stars or home-made tapas?

If you like eating well then you’re in luck, as Madrid had 123 restaurants featured in the 2022 Michelin Guide! 20 of them were awarded the much-coveted stars, and many offer regional specialties with a modern twist, such as Coque. Restaurants specialising in traditional Madrid offal dishes include La Tasquería de Javi Estévez. For a more low-key but equally delicious experience, eat like a local and head out for a multi-course tapas dinner late in the evening.

We have best flight and accommodation offers in Madrid

La hora del aperitivo, or starter time, runs from 6 pm to 9 pm and is the ideal time to head to a bar around the Retiro Park in Taberna Pedraza, where they are said to serve Madrid’s best tortilla! Eat, drink, have fun and don’t be surprised when you see napkins and leftovers landing on the floor – it’s a local tradition.

Views at the mountains of Madeira © Natalia Maszkowska
Views at the mountains of Madeira © Natalia Maszkowska

Active breaks with views for days – a city break in Madeira

The ideal foil for the long nights and bad weather of a northern European autumn, Madeira, known as the land of eternal spring, seems like paradise! With pleasant weather, stunning nature, marvellous views and ideal sporting conditions just a short flight away, what are you waiting for? Do you enjoy trekking, walking or Nordic walking? Pack comfortable shoes, as the entire island is dotted with a network of hiking trails. Prefer watersports or high-adrenaline climbing? Again, Madeira is just the place for you. You can easily rent a bike on site if you prefer to explore from the saddle of a two-wheeler, meaning there is plenty of opportunity to spend your time in Madeira actively.

Sunset at Pico Arieiro © Natalia Maszkowska
Sunset at Pico Arieiro © Natalia Maszkowska

Hiking in Madeira

Madeira brings a hint of the exotic to a European break. Located almost 600 kilometers off the coast of Morocco, Madeira is an administrative region of Portugal. Due to its proximity to Africa, the island’s climate is favourable, offering warm temperatures year-round. The Eternal Spring on this vegetation-dense island is conducive to activity, especially trekking and cycling trips. Madeira is famous for its hiking trails which enable visitors to stretch themselves while admiring the most beautiful landscapes.

Book a car before you go!

A mountain trek from Pico do Arieiro to Madeira’s highest peak, Pico Ruivo is considered the most beautiful of the 30 marked trails that criss-cross this island. You can also walk or ride the levadas, the 16th-century canals used to transport rainwater from the north to the south of the island. The routes PR5 Vereda das Funduras or PR6 Levada das 25 Fontes are especially interesting.

Woman walking along a levada, Madeira © iStock
Woman walking along a levada, Madeira © iStock

Adrenaline-junkie Madeira

The Island of Eternal Spring is one of the best places for those who love unusual experiences. The routes marked on Madeiran Cerro volcanic rocks are a climbers’ dream. Before you pack your gear, remember that basalt is sharp and slippery, which is why many seemingly easy routes take longer here than on limestone or granite rocks. Beginners can try Ponta de São Lourenço – the rocks surrounding the island’s most beautiful cliffs. The climbing routes at the top of Pico do Areeiro or around Lombo do Mouro will require more advanced skills.

Need more inspiration? Check out our article about the TOP 5 hiking trails on this island.

Black sand beach in Seixal © Natalia Maszkowska
Black sand beach in Seixal © Natalia Maszkowska

Madeira – water sports paradise

Diving, surfing, windsurfing, canoeing, fishing, sailing or water-skiing? Madeira has something to offer every watersports enthusiast! Windsurfing has become particularly popular here in recent years, with the area around São Vicente, such as Paul do Mar and Jardim do Mar offering the best waves. While visiting Madeira, many tourists use the opportunity to catch fish – and not just any fish, but blue marlins that can sometimes weigh up to 500 kilograms! Prefer to admire the beauty of Madeira from the water? You don’t need a sailing license, you can just rent a SUP board and head out to see rugged caves, steep cliffs, and beaches black with volcanic sand.

We have best flight and accommodation offers in Madeira

Did you know that Madeira was one of the destinations we recently visited as part of our “Travel Your Own Way” campaign? As a result of the trip, we published a real-life account of this amazing island on our blog – check it out for more inspiration!



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